Man arraigned in rape, killing

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PORTLAND (AP) – Among the family and friends supporting a Bridgton man charged with raping and killing a woman 12 years ago is the defendant’s ex-wife, who despite having taken out a protection order maintains he couldn’t commit murder.

Malissa Gregoire, who obtained the protection order on March 15, attended Michael Hutchinson’s arraignment on Thursday. Afterward, she told reporters that she supports Hutchinson “100 percent” and said police arrested the wrong man.

“He is not a murderer. I don’t believe that he is guilty,” said Gregoire, who wrote in her court filing that she had been assaulted and threatened.

Hutchinson, 31, was arrested and charged in the death of Crystal Perry after investigators linked him to DNA recovered from the crime scene at Perry’s home in Bridgton.

Hutchinson, a self-employed mason, apparently lived near Perry but police said there’s no evidence of a relationship between the two. Members of Perry’s large family say they never heard of him.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said the evidence against Hutchinson is strong. Beyond that, she declined to discuss the case.

Members of Perry’s family met with detectives and also believe that the case against Hutchinson is strong. “It sounds like a great case,” said Glenice Russo, Perry’s older sister. “I really hope justice will be served.”

Hutchinson’s lawyer, Robert Andrews of Portland, said the state will need more than DNA evidence to convict Hutchinson. DNA can show that two people had contact, but it does not prove that Hutchinson stabbed or raped Perry.

“DNA does not show evidence of an actual crime,” he said. “Mr. Hutchinson maintains his innocence and we believe that after a trial he will be exonerated.”

Hutchinson was returned to the Cumberland County Jail after a brief appearance before Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren. Hutchinson entered a plea of not guilty, and Warren ordered him held without bail.

Andrews said Hutchinson would forgo for now his right to demand a bail hearing, but reserved the right to ask for a hearing after receiving all of the evidence against him from prosecutors.

AP-ES-04-14-06 0837EDT

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